This article provides an original account of slurs and how they may be differentially used by in-group and out-group speakers. Slurs are first distinguished from other terms and their role in social interaction is discussed. A new distinction is introduced between three different uses of slurs: the (a) paradigmatic derogatory use, (b) non-paradigmatic derogatory use, and (c) non-derogatory in-group use. I then account for their literal meaning and explain how a family-resemblance conception of category membership can clarify our understanding of the various natural-language uses of slurs, (a)–(c). The focus is restricted primarily to race-based and sex-based slurs used in the context of English speakers, and the article concludes with desiderata to be met by any subsequent analyses of slurs.